NEF – State Intermediary
The Nebraska Enterprise Fund (NEF), a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization, serves as Nebraska’s statewide microenterprise intermediary (SMI). NEF is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), as set out by the US Department of Treasury. Serving in this capacity, NEF has contributed to the ongoing growth and sustainability of the microenterprise industry in Nebraska. NEF has made operating and capital funds available to programs in order to build a network that provides loans, training and technical assistance services to micro/small businesses across the state.
Depending on availability of funds, NEF makes grants to programs (not businesses) for covering operating costs. This funding helps support the cost of services to businesses.
Nine programs across Nebraska currently utilize NEF Evergreen loans or loan loss reserve capital as part of their total capital loan pool to lend to micro businesses. NEF capital provided to programs is often used as valuable match, therefore enabling programs to obtain additional loan capital from other sources in order to meet loan demands.
NEF has been successful in obtaining funding from multiple sources including federal, state, and local levels from both the public and private sector. These funds make it possible to support programs by continuing to assist them in developing capacity, making resource connections for businesses, targeting populations that are otherwise under-served, and increasing the volume of micro loans in Nebraska.
NEF has utilized additional capital opportunities in recent years to partner with programs and banks across Nebraska to provide gap financing directly to businesses and through a CD guarantee loan program that provides collateral support for business borrowers. These guarantees provide a credit enhancement to make more business loans possible from regulated financial institutions.
In FY 2012, NEF completed its sixteenth year in providing the following to microenterprise development organizations:
- Leveraging dollars from other public sources, such as SBA, USDA, CDFI Fund, and from private sources (banks). Historically, these dollars have matched the state funds a minimum of 8 times. The State funds have played a major role in leveraging other resources into Nebraska to be used for business development services.
- Providing accountability through reports to funders on the activities and performance from the programs that receive NEF funds. NEF’s data collection and evaluation are linked to national standards for the industry and help programs establish goals for growth.
- Providing capacity building training, NEF assists programs in growing to meet the needs of businesses, i.e. the state now has two additional CDFIs as a result of NEF training with two more programs now seeking that designation. Program trainings also provide an opportunity for networking and the coordination of resources between microenterprise programs. NEF has worked to keep duplication of services at a minimum through its facilitation of these networking and training events for program leaders and staff. NEF’s work has made it possible for services and loans to be provided in every Nebraska County.
- Identifyng and filling gaps through the design and implementation of new products. For example, the CD Loan Guarantees with financial institutions and the NEF direct loan program came about as a result of NEF staff facilitated discussions with bankers, economic developers, micro programs and businesses to provide additional vehicles for programs and banks to make deals happen.
NEF’s loan capital for programs is available on an open cycle by completing a Nebraska Enterprise Fund loan application form (send request for form to firstname.lastname@example.org). The availability of additional funding in the future will be announced on this website and through NEF’s Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.